HIST 4613: Colonial America, 1600-1763

This guide is designed to assist students in Colonial America, 1600-1763, with suggestions for secondary resources and primary source databases.

What are Primary Sources?

Collage of primary source documents

Here's a great definition of primary sources from the American Library Association

"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include:
  • letters,
  • manuscripts,
  • diaries,
  • journals,
  • newspapers,
  • speeches,
  • interviews,
  • memoirs,
  • documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President,
  • photographs,
  • audio recordings,
  • moving pictures or video recordings,
  • research data,
  • and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons.
These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research."

--Using Primary Sources on the Web, rev. 2008.

Primary Sources Help

Not sure how to work with primary sources? Here are some great tips:

Primary Sources Online

These are a few primary sources available to you online.

Sourcebooks for History

Here are a few collections of source documents in the library:

Newspapers

For Antebellum America, contemporaneous newspapers can be an excellent primary source for many topics. Read all about finding and using newspapers on our Newspapers Research Guide

. The NEw York Herald

Selected Federal Documents Sources